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Rapino Talks Ticketing

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino was interviewed by CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," and unsurprisingly, he was upbeat about Live Nation's prospects. Citing sales that were surprisingly strong in light of the weak economy and listing some of the major forthcoming tours Live Nation is producing, he predicted that the promoter would end with a strong year.

According to Rapino, promotional efforts such as their summer amphitheatre discounted ticket promotions and other factors led to ticket sales "holding very strong."

Rapino said that he also expects the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger to complete by the end of the year. "We hope to have it done by the end of the year, we're in the DOJ process now. We're not really at the stage yet to talk about concessions and we think we have a strong case for the efficiencies." he told interviewer Julia Boorstin.

Rapino also expressed his views of how the live entertainment business will have to change to stay competitive.

"Both of us [Live Nation and Ticketmaster] and the industry, have to change. 40% of the tickets are unsold and in a recent survey we did, 60 percent of fans said they would have gone to a show if they had known about it. We as an industry need to do a better job in increasing awareness of the show, decreasing the ticket price and making it a better experience online, to buy tickets." Rapino said.

Rapino also talked about the results of Live Nation's summer promotional efforts. "We've sold a half-million tickets over the last few weeks." Rapino said "We're selling them at a lower margin but if they are incremental tickets, its new margin to us so we expect about a 5% overall increase in ticket sales." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers